REVIEW: X #2
X returns in a limited series to Dark Horse comics. The vigilante X hunts the corrupt businessmen and criminals of Arcadia. Equipped with his own brutal sense of justice, X has left a long trail of blood and bodies in his city. He trusts no one except himself, and leaves a red X on his victims’ faces, the same red X on his mask. With the body count rising, the police attempt to track the elusive killer. X is also hunted by a former journalist named Leigh Ferguson, who reports her findings through her web site. However, X does not want to be found, and will do anything to keep it that way, including murder.
Art is bloody, gory and violent
Characters are too one-dimensional
Weak protagonist background and motivations
Previously in X: While patrolling the shipyards, a old security guard find a warehouse full of dead bodies. The police arrive and identify the murders were done by the X killer. The victims were several prominent businessmen with criminal ties operating in Arcadia. This information is relayed to Leigh Ferguson, a former journalist hunting the X killer. Her information leads her to a trap for X by the police. Barely evading the trap with his life, X finds a snooping Leigh and asks for her help.
IS HE A HERO OR JUST ANOTHER SERIAL KILLER
Duane Swierczynski’s X series focuses on the mysterious vigilante X as he tries to evade capture by the police. The narrator, Leigh Ferguson, reluctantly assists in his escape. She relates her adventures that night as if it were a first date. Although I like the metaphor, her tone indicates admiration rather than fear of her serial killer companion. Considering X’s reputation, I doubt any sane person would help him. Still, Leigh Ferguson is an innocent by-stander in this comic, always at the wrong place at the wrong time. Her journalistic narration helps the reader understand the plot and its characters. The titular character, the X killer, is shrouded in mystery so far in the first two issues. The comic provides little background on the identity of the masked killer. So far, the X killer’s motivation is to kill the wealthy criminal elite in Arcadia, but no justification has been given beyond that. Sometimes, keeping the character’s intentions unclear is a good way to provide suspense. However, with such a brutal, bloodthirsty protagonist, it becomes hard to relate or support this character. The antagonist and X killer’s enemy, Mr. Berkshire, does not feel like the villain. His atrocities are laid out by Leigh’s narration, but we do not witness any of his crimes. Mr. Berkshire comes off as a stereotypical fat evil businessman who abuses his power. Considering all the complex villains that have come from the comic industry, Mr. Berkshire comes off as dry and overdone.
A BLOODY MESS
With all the action, violence and chaos in X #2, Eric Nguyen does a remarkable job keeping the artwork in line. All of the art is detailed, and visually stunning. Some scenes are very grotesque and bloody, keeping to the mature theme of the plot. Nguyen does not hold back. Everything from explosions to knife wounds to headless corpses are all captured with gory accuracy. The character designs are unique, allowing the reader to follow everything at once. Emotional expressions are light and subtle but still very powerful. There are some inconsistencies with color and design, but overall the art sets the tone of X #2.
BOTTOM LINE: GREAT ART BUT AVERAGE STORY
Duane Swierczynski and Eric Nguyen try to breathe life back to an old Dark Horse hero. Even though the art is fantastic, the plot needs more polishing and creativity. If you were a fan of the original series, you may want to pick this up. It’s a comic with a lot of action, but very little plot.